Skip to main content

Merlin: Real or Fiction?

Merlin: Real or Fiction?

Merlin, the magus who served as a tutor to young Arthur Pendragon before he became king, has become almost universally known as the mentor to all those youth seeking wisdom, spiritual values, and material prosperity. Although scholars tell those fascinated by the legend of Camelot that Merlin, Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot, are fictional creations, there are still those who seek out their graves.

Some scholars point to a sixth-century writer and seer named Myrrdin, who went mad and took refuge in the Forest of Celydon when his king Gwenddolau was defeated at the Battle of Arderydd in 573. Merlin first appears in the History of the Kings of Britain, (1135) a classic work by Geoffrey of Monmouth (c. 11001154).

Merlin became the prophet associated with the quest for the Holy Grail. Other accounts detail how Merlin became trapped in a hawthorn tree, where he dwells forever. Some scholars think, this version restores the story of Myrddin, trapped by his madness in the forest.


monroe, douglas, ed. the lost books of merlyn: druid magic from the age of arthur. st. paul, minn.: llewellyn, 1998.

white, t. h. the book of merlyn: the unpublished conclusion to the once and future king. austin: university of texas press, 1988.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Merlin: Real or Fiction?." Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained. . 23 May. 2019 <>.

"Merlin: Real or Fiction?." Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained. . (May 23, 2019).

"Merlin: Real or Fiction?." Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained. . Retrieved May 23, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.